You may have already encountered the term Fashion Victim in magazines and on television numerous times. What exactly does it mean to be a fashion victim, and are you one?
Coined by the internationally acclaimed designer Oscar de la Renta, the term refers to people who follow trends even if what they are wearing does not feel right or does not look good on them. They are “victims” because they are vulnerable to two of the most recognized excesses of fashion: materialism and faddishness.
Materialism is manifested in the fashion victim’s tendency to seek expensive brands or their knockoffs in the belief that the display of such items will draw admiration, owing to their actual or perceived cost. Fad, on the other hand, refers to short-lived, intense fashion trends. As Versace succinctly puts it, “When a woman alters her look too much from season to season, she becomes a fashion victim.” A fashion victim is by essence at the mercy of the fashion industry’s commercial interest and of society’s prejudices.
The term fashion victim denotes insecurity and is the ultimate insult for the aspirational.
The following are telltale signs of a fashion victim:
Wearing Unflattering Trends
Wearing trendy clothing that does not work for your figure is a dead giveaway. Fashion victims, in their unwavering quest to keep up with trends, end up wearing pieces that verge on the ridiculous.
If you have unwanted bulges on your midriff, don’t force the trendy crop top on you. If the high-waisted pair of shorts that is quite the vogue these days only further emphasizes your stick-thin figure, skip it.
Wearing Age-Inappropriate Outfit
While classic outfits like white shirt and blue jeans can look good on people of all ages, some clothing just outlive their appropriateness. Short denim skirts simply don’t look right on a woman in her 50’s, nor do loose-fitting shirts and baseball caps perched sideways on grown men. We reach a certain age when we don’t feel too much pressure to keep up with trends, and can stick to the style that works best for us. Let’s remember to use our age to our advantage. Now if you’re young, try not to look like a tired housewife or a jaded librarian too soon. Enjoy your youth!
Wearing an Outfit that is not Appropriate for the Event or Weather
Wearing killer heels to a fundraising event that requires a lot of movement outdoors may make you feel like you look put-together, but that’s just gonna raise a few eyebrows, and may even make some people doubt your dedication to the activities you were set out to do. Plus, there is no denying the nagging pain on your feet after having moved too much on uneven pavement while in your testy heels. There is always a way to bring looking good and feeling comfortable together. More importantly, it says a lot about your level of wisdom if you know how to dress appropriately for an occasion. And no, try not to wear that lovely cashmere coat to your outdoor fundraising event either. The heat will just make you feel tired sooner than you’d like. Now if it’s a cold day, it may be best to forego your favorite shoulder-baring outfit.
The basic rule is: Don’t get too caught up in the idea of looking good or fashionable that you lose sight of the essentials – function and comfort.
Following Trends to the Detriment of Your Health
Living up to the term ‘fashion victim’, an Australian woman once developed compartment syndrome, a condition that results from increased pressure within a body space that has been confined. The woman’s condition resulted from wearing a pair of skinny jeans, which had to be cut off of her. This is not the first time someone fell victim to a perilous style trend. Many even lost their lives just to keep up with what is trendy. Many of such incidents go way back in history, to the man named John Cruetzi who died in 1888 after having had been choked by the then trendy stiff collars he was wearing, and the 42-year-old mother-of-six, Mary Halliday, who died in 1903 after having had been pierced by the steel pieces of her corset.
Humans claim to be the smartest of all beings on this planet, but we don’t always act the part. Women used to wear corsets a lot, even when they caused constipation, indigestion, frequent fainting, internal bleeding, and difficulty in breathing. Women in history also continued wearing the then trendy crinoline, or the stiff skirt/structured petticoat that gave ball gowns their full silhouette, even after a weekly average of three persons, including several high-profile personalities, were dying because of their crinoline/skirt catching fire. Men had their own fashion killer in the form of detachable, stiff collars that suffocated enough number of men to merit the name ‘father killer’. In modern time, most of the literal ‘fashion victims’ are found cramped in sweatshops working themselves to exhaustion to meet an increasingly massive demand for fast fashion.
Following Trends to the Detriment of Your Financial Health
Fashion is one of the top sectors that do a great job of manipulating consumer psychology. They continually create new “needs”, pushing consumers to unwarranted shopping sprees, even to the brink of shopping addiction and unmanageable debts.
A good part of our human population is obsessed with fashion and style, falling prey to compulsive shopping habits and racking up credit card debts. While we should not let go of our love for the aesthetics that come with fashion, we must remember that clothing is supposed to shield, protect and comfort us. Let’s remember that we are indeed the smartest beings on the planet, supposedly smarter than chimpanzees moving freely about without restrictive clothing, and should act the part.
Author: Tahna de Veyra
Voracious eater. Coffee dependent. Book sniffer. Music addict. Profound thinker. Certified ambivert. Life-hungry maverick. Nonchalant realist. Hesitant blogger. Consultant / Writer / Researcher for Propelrr. Digital Marketing Consultant / Copywriter for Techy7.
She is passionate about learning and sharing what she’s learned in the hopes of providing value to people’s lives and fostering an understanding that builds bridges. She is the founder of UrbanPonder.com. You can learn more about her on the site’s About page.